'One Wrong Move': Graphic new campaign aims to end wrong-way crashes

The “One Wrong Move” campaign features a wrong-way driver weaving through traffic before slamming head-on into another car.

John Craven

Mar 10, 2023, 11:25 PM

Updated 440 days ago


Wrong-way crashes are rising fast in Connecticut. On Friday, the state Department of Transportation launched a stark new ad campaign to graphically warn of the dangers.
The “One Wrong Move” campaign features a wrong-way driver weaving through traffic before slamming head-on into another car. The ads will launch on television, radio and digital platforms next week.
“I'm tired of telling people, 'We're sorry for your loss,’” said James Rovella, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection commissioner. “Because these wrong-way drivers have ripped their loved ones away from them.”
Gov. Ned Lamont and top transportation leaders unveiled the campaign next to an on-ramp to Interstate 84 in Southington. It’s one of several locations where DOT has installed wrong way detection systems with flashing red lights and warning reflectors embedded in the roadway.
“They're going to turn onto the highway. The first thing they're going to see are these inlaid pavement markers,” said DOT spokesperson Josh Morgan. “These are recessed into the ground. They'll reflect red back into somebody's headlights.”
State Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto said 70 detectors should be in place by the end of 2023.
Current detection cameras can't notify police of a wrong-way driver, but these nine new locations installed by May will automatically warn emergency dispatchers:
• East Hartford: I-84 westbound HOV Exit at Silver Lane
• Groton: I-95 Exit 87 southbound (Route 349 at Meridian St)
• Stonington: I-95 Exit 91 southbound
• Meriden: I-691 Exit 8 eastbound
• New Britain: Route 9 Exit 25 northbound
• Wethersfield: I-91 Exit 25 southbound
• Windsor: I-91 HOV Exit northbound at Route 218
• Windsor: I-91 Exit 42 north ramp
• Windsor: I-91 Exit 42 south ramp
For state lawmakers, the issue is personal. State Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams was killed by a wrong-way driver just after leaving Lamont’s inaugural ball on Jan. 5.
“We lost a friend not that long ago – two months ago – and this issue really was driven home for a lot of us in the legislature,” said state Rep. Roland Lemar (D-New Haven), who co-chairs the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee.
Friday afternoon, the committee approved a bill adding 125 new wrong-way detection ramps and rumble strips. To address drunk drivers, the primary cause of wrong-way crashes, the committee also voted to lower Connecticut’s the legal blood alcohol level to just .05. Utah is the only other state to take that step.
A separate bill also advanced that bans passengers from carrying open containers of alcohol and allows automatic speed and red light cameras. Several lawmakers expressed concerns about cameras, which have been defeated in previous years.
Both bills now head to the full legislature.
“We're trying to do what we can to keep you safe, and that's what the wrong-way driving campaign is about and that's what these lights are about,” said Lamont.
But some drivers think it’s not enough. One said many ramps are too confusing and need to be redesigned.
“It used to never happen until they switched this, because this off-ramp used to be on the other side of the parking lot,” said Mark Partyka, of Southington.

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